Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from Amicus

  It is now well over a year since MRC set up a Task Force to review the options available to it for the continuation of the NIMR, following substantial criticism of its conduct of the Forward Investment Strategy Review.

  Throughout this period. Members have sought only that any review should be open and transparent and look objectively at all the options available from the following view points:

    —  Scientific strategy.

    —  Cost.

    —  Feasibility.

    —  Impact on employees and current/future communities.

  Although MRC has moved towards better communication with its employees at NIMR, there remains as issue of transparency around the ultimate objective concerning the future of the NIMR.

  At the most recent Employee Consultation Meeting of 20 September, MRC re-iterated its view that the current NIMR location would not be an option, although it would be the bench mark against which the other two options would be judged.

  In its exchanges with employees and their representatives, MRC has provided no evidence to support the view that a relocation to Central London would provide:

    —  A better range or quality of academic and/or clinical science.

    —  Significantly greater opportunities for academic and/or clinical collaborations.

    —  Better and/or more cost effective infrastructure to meet the research needs.

  Against this, our members believe the following must also be measured:

    —  The cost of new build or refurbishment at a new location with the costs for the current site.

    —  The possible loss of the extensive facilities at the current site and the effect of this on future scientific opportunities, if these can not be reproduced at the new site(s).

    —  The loss of the Institute as a national resource if it becomes embedded in one or more host institutions on one or more sites. This may raise issues about the governance of such a resource.

    —  The effect on morale and staffing levels over a prolonged period of uncertainty over the future of NIMR.

  The Amicus membership welcomes any review or inquiry that assists the open consideration of NIMR's future. It readily accepts that progression in science frequently requires change, but it firmly believes that such change should be made on the basis of evidence, in a transparent way. Amicus would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues fully.

22 November 2004

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